KATHRYN FLETT: Why the rebooted Rebus was so repulsive I had to force myself not to switch off after five minutes

REBUS

Saturdays, BBC1

If you have fond memories of the Noughties' ITV series starring John Hannah who was then replaced by Ken Stott, here's a warning: the BBC's Rebus reboot is so violent and uncompromisingly bleak that I had to force myself to keep watching past the first five minutes.

Executive producer Sir Ian Rankin may have given his blessing to this incarnation of his Inspector Rebus novels by the writer Gregory Burke ('I've known Greg for years. I'm a huge fan of his work on stage and on screen… we grew up four miles apart… etc'), however, it took me to a place I really didn't need to visit.

On paper, it could have been a take on the trials of contemporary policing and how that impacts the life of both the police and the policed, Responder-style.

That show successfully tackles subjects just as grim as Rebus, however the difference is that Martin Freeman's Chris Carson has been gifted some humanity.

Even as viewers despair at his obvious frailties and fallibilities, we care – while Freeman wears Carson like a second skin.

The BBC's Rebus reboot is so violent and uncompromisingly bleak that I had to force myself to keep watching past the first five minutes

The BBC's Rebus reboot is so violent and uncompromisingly bleak that I had to force myself to keep watching past the first five minutes

Persuading audiences to invest in difficult – potentially unlikeable – characters sufficiently to want to accompany them through an entire series is tricky but doable.

What's not doable is writing characters so determinedly cynical and morally adrift that even fine actors can't deliver someone we believe in, much less root for.

Richard Rankin (no relation) as Rebus does what he can with what he's given, however I suspect discerning viewers won't care, they'll recoil. And switch off.

I didn't want to spend time with Gregory Burke's version of Rebus because he is patently a violently unhinged thug and life is far too short to be repulsed in the name of entertainment.

And even if the character Rebus nearly kills in the opening scene is revolting, his police badge doesn't give Rebus a pass.

At the end of the day, any contenders fighting for the low moral ground are not ones I'm going to care about.

Meanwhile, the show's female characters – Rebus's new professional partner Siobhan Clarke (Lucie Shorthouse), his lover (also his best mate's wife), his ex and his young daughter – are two-dimensional ciphers; women's lives as they are lived are clearly not in either Burke's or Rebus's comfort zones.

I'll pass on this rebooted Rebus's journey through the outer limits of toxic masculinity; 'A Clockwork Thistle' by any other name

I'll pass on this rebooted Rebus's journey through the outer limits of toxic masculinity; 'A Clockwork Thistle' by any other name

Another violent scene that unfolds in front of Rebus's own daughter is, frankly, offensive, and while I have no idea if Gregory Burke has a family of his own, a post-viewing internet search revealed that prior to a career as an Olivier award-winning playwright he had a dark and violent back story of his own.

Perhaps this accounts for the knee-jerk deployment of what A Clockwork Orange's famously brutal protagonist Alex memorably described as 'a bit of the old ultraviolence'.

Either way, I'll pass on this rebooted Rebus's journey through the outer limits of toxic masculinity; 'A Clockwork Thistle' by any other name.

 

SHORT ON MYSTERY... LONG ON FUN: MYSTERIES OF THE PYRAMIDS WITH DARA Ó BRIAIN

My5

I'm a fan of Dara Ó Briain's take on popular science. Combining his maths and theoretical physics training with the seasoned stand-up's light comedic touch, the results are effectively a Brian Cox show – albeit on a smaller budget and with better jokes.

However, anybody expecting their pyramids with a big side-order of mystery will find that Dara's latest is less Mysteries Of The Pyramids than Accepted Academic Theories Of The Pyramids.

I'm a fan of Dara Ó Briain's take on popular science. He explores Egypt with Mysteries Of The Pyramids

I'm a fan of Dara Ó Briain's take on popular science. He explores Egypt with Mysteries Of The Pyramids

If, for example, you enjoyed Netflix's 2022 super-hit Ancient Apocalypse (presented by the long-time pyramid theory outlier Graham Hancock), Dara's retread through predictable Great Pyramid-related received wisdom will be boring old ground, well covered.

'I'm a man of science and reason, so alternative theories around who built the pyramids just frustrate me,' he declares.

However, even if my taste in amateur pyramidology is probably too 'woo-woo' for scientists, I'm very happy exploring the middle of the Venn diagram.

I loved Professor Salima Ikram's description of tombs stuffed with objects to ease a pharaoh's transition to the afterlife as 'a resurrection machine'.

And who wouldn't agree with Dara's observation that the Great Pyramid of Giza 'asks more questions than it answers'.

 

Liking these odd Aussies

Australian import Bay Of Fires (ITVX) is a comedy-drama with an intriguing premise: Marta Dusseldorp (big in Oz, less so here) stars as company CEO Anika Van Cleef, forced into witness protection with her kids after surviving an assassination attempt.

Australian import Bay Of Fires (ITVX) is a comedy-drama with an intriguing premise

Australian import Bay Of Fires (ITVX) is a comedy-drama with an intriguing premise

Relocated to a Tasmanian town largely populated by eccentrics/criminals, Anika (now Stella) comes down to Earth with a bang.

Worth a look. However, while there’s lots to like so far (I’m two episodes in) maybe there’s not quite enough to love?

 

Revelation of the week – in so many ways – is the BBC Storyville documentary The Gullspång Miracle: A Nordic Mystery (iPlayer). We follow sisters Kari and May after they’re reunited with their deceased sister Lita’s missing twin, Olaug.

However, what begins as a touching familial tale swiftly twists into a story that’s stranger and more complex than most authors of fiction would dare to imagine. Pure Nordic noir, it’s a brilliantly directed debut by Maria Fredriksson.

OTHER NEWS

2 hrs ago

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy 'getting fed up' with owner Jerry Jones: report

2 hrs ago

Who Should Steelers Hope Wins Training Camp QB Battle?

2 hrs ago

Goaltender's dad talks up the Oilers' chances of lifting the Stanley Cup

2 hrs ago

Phillies turn rare 1-3-5 triple play against Tigers, 1st since 1929

2 hrs ago

Discount Burger Check? Chiefs' Reid Shares Hilarious Commercial Story

2 hrs ago

'Devastating loss': Digital lending library, Internet Archive, removes 500,000 books after being sued by publishers

2 hrs ago

Iga Swiatek vs Coco Gauff vs Aryna Sabalenka vs Elena Rybakina: WTA ‘Big 4’ state of play ahead of Wimbledon

2 hrs ago

Would a Toronto byelection loss spell doom for Trudeau?

2 hrs ago

BlackSuit ransomware gang blamed for ongoing car dealership outages

2 hrs ago

'Unreal' injury-time equaliser saves football powerhouse

2 hrs ago

Nigel Farage accused of cosying up to the Kremlin by former NATO boss

2 hrs ago

Dagestan, in southern Russia, has a history of violence. Why does it keeps happening?

2 hrs ago

Marines revive a World War II airfield on Peleliu in Pacific pivot

2 hrs ago

Fortnite Brings Tilted Towers and Other Fan Favorite Locations, But With a Twist

2 hrs ago

Shadow of the Erdtree Puts the Cherry on Top of Elden Rings Main Strength

2 hrs ago

Anger erupts as Albo's governor-general is awarded payrise

2 hrs ago

Charo Makes Rare Public Appearance at Project Angel Food Event: 'Life Is Beautiful' (Exclusive)

2 hrs ago

Boozed-up England fans sing '10 German bombers' chant in Cologne

2 hrs ago

Show Respect: ‘Boys are surprised we talk about this, it’s become normalised’

2 hrs ago

After clash with prosecutor, judge reserves ruling on restricting Trump’s rhetoric about agents’ classified documents search

2 hrs ago

Peter Dutton’s nuclear plan ‘doesn’t deliver’ any ‘energy price decrease’ until 2040

2 hrs ago

Where to watch Netherlands vs. Austria live stream, TV channel, lineups, prediction for Euro 2024 match

2 hrs ago

China lunar probe to return to Earth with samples

2 hrs ago

Report: Knicks’ OG Anunoby declines player option, enters unrestricted free agency

2 hrs ago

Saints offensive line ranked 19th in the NFL

2 hrs ago

Senators acquire goaltender Linus Ullmark from Bruins

2 hrs ago

Why Qld feels like home for the Blues

2 hrs ago

Seahawks waive 3 undrafted free agents, make UFL champ signing official

2 hrs ago

Andrew Scott Frantically Runs to Hear Taylor Swift's ‘Style' at 'Eras Tour'

2 hrs ago

England’s Test series v New Zealand: Date, kick-off time and TV channel

2 hrs ago

Bills' McDermott Says Von Miller Has ‘Something to Prove’

2 hrs ago

US prosecutors want Boeing to face criminal charges

2 hrs ago

Finance Minister Michael McGrath set to become Ireland's new EU Commissioner

2 hrs ago

Red-hot Cardinals get huge boost in return of star catcher

2 hrs ago

How police use the mail to spy on you: 60,000 cases in last decade with little pushback

2 hrs ago

These 3 Republicans are Trump’s most likely VP picks

2 hrs ago

Roy Jones Jr. announces his son, DeAndre, died by suicide

2 hrs ago

Luxury Gyms, Like Equinox and Life Time, Are Taking Over Big Retail Spaces

2 hrs ago

Automobili Pininfarina PURA Vision wins prestigious Red Dot Award: Design Concept 2024

2 hrs ago

Pop legend Robbie Williams wears his AFL jersey to see if he still gets recognised in London - with some very surprising results